What is an Affiliated Charter School?

June 8, 2012

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There are currently a couple dozen Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) schools that have petitioned to become "affiliated" charter schools. These petitions were presented to the LAUSD board on May 1, and are expected to be voted on in June.

"Affiliated charter schools" are unique to LAUSD. More details on the differences can be found in this LAUSD presentation.

An additional school, APEX Academy in East Hollywood, has petitioned to become an independent charter.

"As a charter school, APEX Academy will have the ability to allocate funds to what we know as a small school community will benefit our students most."
- APEX Academy website

There are currently 30 conversion schools located in LAUSD, with the earliest conversions dating back to 1993. Of these, 18 are "affiliated conversions." The others are fully independent charter schools.

One major point of confusion has been about whether the schools will receive more funding by converting charter schools.

Overall, California charter schools receive LESS state funding than traditional public schools.

On January 26, 2012, the California Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) issued a report confirming funding inequity of at least 7%, or $395 per student for categorical funding, between California charter public schools and their traditional school counterparts. The report further noted that the gap can exceed an additional $1,000 per student for some charter schools that have been denied access to key programs such as K-3 Class Size Reduction. This report did not address facility funding, federal funding or local revenues, which further widen the funding gap.

Conversion Funding

At the state level, charter schools receive funds in one of two ways - they are either direct-funded and locally funded. As "affiliated" charter schools, these conversions will be locally funded. This means they will continue to receive most funding through the district, including federal funding.

However, conversion schools, like all charter schools, receive the charter school categorical block grant (CBG) which provides about $400 per pupil to the school site, in lieu of access to number of state categorical programs. While the CBG is underfunded statewide, on a school-by school basis, the impact of receiving the CBG in lieu of categorical funds may be a benefit, depending on the individual site. Either way, the CBG provides greater site-level autonomy on the use of these funds, even for an "affiliated" school.

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